What are choppers? To some it is just a big motorcycle. To some, it is dubbed as “another Harley Davidson bike”. If you’d ever watched the series Son of Anarchy, you would know how cool it is to be riding with your pack. But what exactly IS a chopper bike? Well, Choppers started out because a group of soldiers that has returned to their homeland from World War II were quite unpleasant with their motorcycles that were built by Harley-Davidson and Indian.
Reason being is that the bikes that they rode back in Europe during the war times were much lighter, sleeker and were much more fun to ride. For you youngin’s out there who don’t know what I am talking about, think Captain America’s Movie scene where Cap’ Steve Rogers was riding one of them.
These group of war veteran’s started to hang out with other ex-soldiers at that time to relive and share what they have experienced during their tenure of service. There, these groups of Vets figured that their bikes needed some changes that Harley wasn’t providing for the, hence this bunch of scar cladded heroes started to “chop” their bikes by removing what was unnecessary for their bikes. Fenders were being shorten, windshields are being removed. Blinkers? Who needs em’. This eventually made the bike looked uncluttered by the normal bits and pieces from factory and made the bike look real cool. Some bikers went to the extreme by removing the battery and used magneto to reduce weight on their bikes and also to create an even cleaner look to their bikes.
As the years passed. The customisation on the choppers took a huge turn as more talented designers began designing one off bikes not only for themselves but for their customers. The “chopper” movement has turned into a huge industry in itself and Arlen Ness was one of the first and most recognised builder/designer. The O.G
Here in Malaysia, the chopper movement has been picking up quite strongly as many of our homegrown designers & builders have been popping up creating one off masterpiece that will literally stop you at your tracks. From street cubs (ex-5s) to brat style or Caféracer Jaguh’s to name a few. Oldschool bikes are now the new treasure for bikers as they see the potential in chopping them into their desired bike.
Enter Beautiful Machines. One of our home grown heroes in the Chopper industry. In 2011, Beautiful Machines opened their doors. Led by 3 nutty professors; Guan, Jay & Morris. They hit the ground running. As we had the opportunity to visit Beautiful Machines and sat down with Guan to hear his humble beginnings.
Guan first fell in love with bikes at the tender age of 10. His own family has a history with motorcycles. His grandfather had a Motorcycle shop and every school holiday, Guan was forced to work with him in his shop. In the beginning, Guan wasn’t very pleased to be spending his holidays cooped up in a workshop but as the days passed, he began to find enjoyment tinkering with nuts and bolts and the bikes in the shop. Guan was so fond with bikes that even when school was reopened, he would head over to his grandfather’s shop every day after school to continue wrenching on the bikes.
As years passed, Guan had a moment when he lost touch with bikes. At one point of his life, Guan was working in Kuantan as a wiring technician for boats for about 2 years until his cousin offered him a job with him at his motorcycle shop, Lee Bikers. There he started to pick up knowledge about Harley Davidsons. Prior to that, Guan was tinkering with a lot of Vulcans and Viragos. Lee, the boss has thought Guan everything he knew at the beginning.
After a few years, in 2011 Guan decided to head out on his own and there is where he met his partners. In the beginning, Guan wanted to just work on his own pace. On call to anyone that needs help with their bikes. But after meeting up with Jay they decided to pull in their resources together to start a full flesh bike shop. In his mind he was thinking, a small shop would suffice for a kick-start but he was astonished when he saw the size of the shop that his partner brought him to!
They started operation in Jalan Tandang PJ prior to where they are now in Sunway. According to Guan, the feel in PJ was amazing but there wasn’t many walk in customers hence it was not too good for the business hence, 3 years ago, they decided to relocate. The decision was a smart one as their business has never been better ever since they opened their doors here in Sunway.
The name Beautiful Machines came about from a vote from the partners and also the workers from the shop. It was a vote-off between Beautiful Machines and Rocker Racer. Well at the end of day. You know which name won.
When I asked Guan about his first ever customised bike in Beautiful Machine, I was surprised to find out that it was Eddy Lim’s Suzuki GS550 Suzie! Eddy is a good friend of mine and one of the Chief Executive Frankenstein of Mutha Puaka. I had the privilege to ride Suzie(don’t be perverted guys) on one of Mutha Puaka’s outing, Puaka Run last year. Really can’t wait to get my own bike.
Till date. Guan has built more than 20 custom bikes. His 1st award winning bike was “RudeBoy”(a bike owned by a local celebrity chef) and then came his other award winning bike “Puting Beliung”. For those of you who came to Retro Havoc, you guys would have seen that amazing looking bike at our booth. Not to mention hearing his thundering roar at the end of the day that shook literally the entire floor. Recently another built of theirs were featured on Bike EXIF. A Ducati Scrambler dubbed as yellow yellow “Dirty Fellow”.
I asked Guan for some advice for those who are wanting to get into the bike scene. What kind of bikes would be fairly simple for the newbies and he mentioned that a Harley Sportster would be a good choice as it is versatile to custom. He mentioned that what Beautiful Machine does it that they see how much is your budget and they would advise you on the level of customisation that will be within your budget. It would take at least 3 months lead time to fully customise a bike from top to toe and it would cost averaging RM10, 000.00 minimum to get things done properly.
Before we left, I asked Guan about his future plans for Beautiful Machines and he said that he would really love to see Beautiful Machines venture to more than just South East Asia. He would want the eyes of the world know about this Malaysian grown brand. We at Mcclubz will like to wish you the very best of luck and all of us will support you as well.
For those of you who would want to get in touch with Beautiful Machines, you guys could check them out on their Facebook Page “Beautiful Machines” or drop by their shop at No.29 Jalan PJS 11 / 14, Bandar Sunway Petaling Jaya.